Could the Pac-12 Tournament be a one-bid, winner-take-all affair this year? It seemed unthinkable that one of the major conference could be so under-represented, but just last year, the conference went 0-3 as UCLA and Arizona State lost in Dayton, and Arizona got crushed by Buffalo.
After last night, the possibility of a one-bid Pac-12 Conference grew. Arizona went to USC and got crushed 80-57. Entering the night, they were #54 in the NET rankings, which would have put them right on the cusp anyway. The Wildcats went 1-4 in games against possible at-large teams out of conference (with the win over Iowa State). But after that destruction, they will likely fall out of the Top 60 today, are outside the Top 60 in the Ken Pomeroy rankings, and the conference doesn’t present a whole lot of opportunities.
Washington is the only conference member in the Top 50 (they were at #40 before winning at Oregon). Washington, though, had no signature wins out of conference which is why they are not a certainty either.
You might here the term “Quad 1” in regard to wins and tournament talk. These are the top tier games that the committee usually looks to in deciding how teams get seeded or selected. Well, there are currently no Quad 1 home games in the Pac-12 and the only road games that are likely to qualify are at Washington, at Arizona, at Arizona State, and at Oregon State (I’m assuming that Oregon falls just outside the Top 75). The conference doesn’t even play true round robin. Washington, Arizona State, and Arizona each have only three Quad 1 road opportunities remaining. For comparison, teams in the Big Ten and Big 12 have roughly 7-8 such games remaining on the schedule.
I’ve got Washington in right now, and I have Arizona State barely in as an 11 seed, with Arizona falling out. But with the possibility of at-large bids shrinking by a couple once the conference tournament results come in, the Pac-12 is in a very tenuous position.
Here are my full projections. Reminder, if you are not familiar with what I do, I don’t just look at current resumé. I look at future schedule and projections and try to project both future results and how the Committee will view that team on Selection Sunday.